Rodney H. Pickett “Rod”


Rodney H. Pickett “Rod” was born on June 12, 1940 in Sauk Centre, MN and passed away in Bemidji on December 11, 2020, at the age of 80. Rod’s mom used to say that he was born at 11:57 a.m., just in time for lunch. Rod lived in Sauk Centre until the age of two, at which time his Dad enlisted in the Navy during WWII. When the war ended, the family moved to S.C. In 1949 the family moved to Baudette, MN, where his father became the Game Warden at the one and only station in Baudette. It was there that Rod developed his three passions in life: hunting, fishing and hockey.

In 1951 at the age of 11, Rod went to work at resorts—for the next twelve summers. It was during this time, he developed his knowledge and expertise for fishing on Lake of the Woods, which would last his lifetime. He and his wife, De, loved the lake and purchased a cabin on the lake in 1996 on the Canadian side. They enjoyed hundreds of hours there.

His third passion of hockey began in 1949 upon moving to Baudette. Rod did not own a pair of skates, but he found an old used pair laying around in the “rink shack” and started with those. He liked playing goalie and so his mom took an old pair of blue jeans and sewed each leg together at the bottom, and stuffed them with Sears and Wards catalogs. Rod’s play caught the attention of UND and he was awarded a hockey scholarship there. Rod did not attend UND, but instead moved in with his sister in the St. Cloud area and enrolled at St. Cloud University and was their goalie. His final season remains the only time in St. Cloud State Men’s hockey history to be undefeated season. The entire team was enshrined to the St. Cloud State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.

Upon graduation, Rod got a teaching position and head hockey coach at Osseo High School. He loved hockey and teaching, but it was too far away from his other passions. He left teaching and move to Bemidji to start his own insurance agency. He was also involved Jaycees, Shriners, March of Dimes, and was on the board of the Bemidji Curling Club and Bemidji Town and Country Club.

He loved to officiate high school hockey. In 1973-1975, Rod officiated the State High School Boys Hockey Tournament. He also officiated two NAIA national college tournaments.

Rod’s real passion for volunteering was the Ducks Unlimited. In 1973, Rod and a few hunting buddies started the Bemidji Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. He served on the committee for 25 years. During that time, he was active at the state and national levels. On the state level he served as District Chairman, Zone Chairman and served on the State Council for 10 years. In 1988, he was given the title of National Trustee Emeritus which is a lifetime position.

Rod was a member of the Bemidji Baptist Church, and considered the whole church his family.

Rod is survived by his wife, De, his sister, Eileen, and his four children: Paul (William Powell) of Indianapolis, Kari (Jim Cole) of Bemidji, Ann (Chris) VanHoose of Houston, and Derek (Ericka) Pickett of Bemidji, and eight grandchildren: Ellen, Rachel, Ethen, Colten, Lori, CR, Trace and Tripp, and two great-grandchildren: Winter and Lira.

Active Pallbearers: Rick Brown, Doc Erickson, Jack Eastman, Bob Hunt, Keith Johanneson, Ken Riegier, Risto Katula, Ralph Vonasek, Ron LeClair and Marshall Johnston.

Honorary Pallbearers: All grandchildren and all DU members, past, present and future.

Funeral services under the direction of Cease Funeral Home will be announced at a later date.

Condolences may be left at

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Bemidji Baptist Church.

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